Could Your Facebook Account Have Influenced Your Insurance Application?

facebookWith the recent facebook data scandal with Cambridge Analytica coming to light, many consumers are beginning to get wise about who they give their data to. Most people already know that facebook is free because of it’s advertising, but to what extent is the data you share with Facebook being used outside of it’s advertising platform. Facebook clearly states “No, we don’t sell any of your information to anyone and we never will.” But as we saw with the recent data breach, your data could be out there.

Most no exam life insurance carriers use third party vendors to assist in id verification, risk analysis, credit history and more. Major data providers like Experian, Lexis Nexis, Acxiom, Epsilon, KBM and Oracle all participate in selling data to Facebook to enhance the targeting options available to advertisers. These are large companies with tons and tons of data on US consumers that actively sell and buy data to and from thousands of data providers. Is it safe to assume that if they are selling data, they are buying it too?

It’s likely that your identity is already matched up to your social media profiles in their databases. If you do not have your privacy settings dialed in, you may have already given them any publicly available information such as your likes and interest. What is scary about the recent data breach at Facebook, is that it was the result of a loophole that involved gathering the data on the friends of people taking viral quizzes. Millions of people who had not adjusted their default privacy settings had their data compromised and used to influence their voting behavior. We all have that one friend that is always posting those silly quizzes and celebrity lookalike picture generators. So what does this have to do with insurance?

It’s All About Risk

Insurance is all about determining risk. Millions of dollars are spent to accurately determine the risk of insuring someone. Any time an insurance company can use data to make a better decision, they do. That is where the data companies come in offering products that better determine risk on new applicants. Your social media data (likes, interests, places of interest etc) has likely made it’s way into your file at these companies.

So when they run their risk analysis, do they now have information on that skydiving school’s page you liked?  Or maybe their data analysts have determined a correlation between people that like CocaCola on Facebook and those that tend to have health conditions relating to obesity? Or possibly all of those check-ins and selfies you post from the gym?

Data Privacy?

These are all things we must think about when sharing our personal data with tech companies like Facebook. The Internet of Things will be the next major data source for the above mentioned data companies, gathering data from automobiles, smartphones, fitness watches, security systems and more. Many of these tech companies are startups that are funded by aggressive venture capital firms looking for the next Facebook.

Who Owns the Digital Version of You?

Will there be new legislation created to protect consumers from having their private data used against them by large corporations, or is it fair game in today’s business landscape? And most importantly, will this lead to data companies knowing more about you than you?

Jonathan Holloway

Jonathan is a licensed life insurance agent at that writes about insurance, personal finance, lifestyle, and sports. See his latest post reviewing the Gerber Grow-Up Plan.

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